Government lists ceasefire as talks precondition for Taliban

By AFP
Published: February 13, 2013

Malik says talks can only be held after a ceasefire. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday urged the Taliban to announce a 30-day ceasefire as a precursor to peace talks which the militants had offered earlier this month, adding the nation had rejected their campaign of terror.

The umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction has stepped up attacks in recent months, leading to fears that violence could mar general elections scheduled to take place by mid-May.

In a video message handed out to journalists on February 3, TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan proposed talks with Islamabad provided that certain opposition politicians, including main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, act as guarantors.

Sharif welcomed the peace talks offer but refused to be a guarantor.

“First there should be ceasefire and peace talks can be held only after it,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in Islamabad on Wednesday.

“The nation has rejected the system of Taliban, this is voice of majority, come forward, announce a one-month ceasefire and then hold negotiations,” Malik said.

In December, TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who has a $5 million US bounty on his head, said he was open to peace talks but refused to disarm.

Critics have accused the authorities of appeasement in trying to broker peace with the TTP in the past, charging that such deals give the militants time to regroup before launching further attacks.

Elections on time would mark the first time a democratically elected government would have seen out a full term in the country’s history. Local media has recently tipped Sharif the most likely victor in the polls.

Reader Comments (20)

  • Feb 13, 2013 - 9:10PM

    After ruthless and unchallenged Taliban attacks, the government has to apologetically announce its readiness to hold a dialogue, which is usually meant to give civilians a signal that the insurmountable enemy is worthy of reconciliation. If the Pakistan government is serious about defending Pakistan and developing Pakistan – it needs a much more mature and wiser counter-extremism policy.

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  • Iftikhar Khan
    Feb 13, 2013 - 9:15PM

    Just the idea that TTP says that they can have peace talk without them changing their barbaric ways PROVES that they are enemy and should be dealt with accordingly with just action and resolve. Not suggesting doing oppression (zulm) on them but only the justice they deserve must be provided with full resolve of the nation.

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  • sensible
    Feb 13, 2013 - 9:30PM

    Idea! bring all taliban to peace table, trap em and bomb them all.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 13, 2013 - 9:34PM

    The Talibans do not negotiate and it took the Americans over a decade to accept it; One appeases and accepts their demand or confront them to defeat them. Johnny Malik should learn to speak Pashto to understand the Taliban jibberish.

    Rex Minor

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  • Musthaq Ahmed
    Feb 13, 2013 - 9:38PM

    With elections round the corner Mr. Malik sends feelers first. TTP obliges with suitable announcement. Mr.Malik accepts his own idea with a tag. He is for the dramatic !

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  • Aslam
    Feb 13, 2013 - 9:43PM

    Even handed justice coupled with honest governance will leave no room for these coward barbarians that TTP are.

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  • adnan
    Feb 13, 2013 - 10:08PM

    what a joke~Recommend

  • Parvez
    Feb 13, 2013 - 10:39PM

    In other words the government is giving them one month to re-group and refresh their positions so that they can kill with extra vigour………..whose side is the government on ?Recommend

  • Mirza
    Feb 13, 2013 - 10:51PM

    We cannot initiate peace talks while under increasing attacks by these terrorists. Ignore the talk of surrender to the terrorists and let them give up arms before talking. Forget what the rightwing leaders say about their TTP friends. Do not talk to them till they stop targeting our civilians and stop using arms.

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  • Syed
    Feb 13, 2013 - 11:15PM

    Before we make any opinion on what to do with these TTP/etc people. Remember there are the ones who even had no shame in killing girls who were saving children from polio.

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  • Hafeez
    Feb 13, 2013 - 11:30PM

    Ceasefire? Are you nuts? Ask them to surrender and no talks. You may tell them that they will not be killed until given a chance of hearing. That can be the most lenient stance if you really want to discourage militants.

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  • Ali
    Feb 14, 2013 - 12:04AM

    Only a month… they should have ceasefire for ever not just one month!

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 14, 2013 - 12:33AM

    @sensible:
    Clever thinking! Who is going to bell the cat?

    Rex Minor

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  • gp65.
    Feb 14, 2013 - 12:46AM

    I don’t think Reman Malik is so smart but this particular statement makes sense. Even in India the precondition to negotation with Maoists is that they declare ceasefire. Asking any sch group to deweaponise alltgether is an obvious non-starter.

    If during negotiation, they are open to discusiing solutions within Pakistan’s constitution, negotiations should continue and not otherwise. Many insurgencies in India have been resolved this way by talking to the insurgent and addressing thir legitimate grievances within the constitutional framework. For groups who reject the constitutional framework, the only option is to fight. But people must realize that such fights are measured in years not days, weeks or months.

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  • Insaan
    Feb 14, 2013 - 12:48AM

    @sensible: Idea! bring all taliban to peace table, trap em and bomb them all.

    Don’t forget there are good and bad talibans. Pakistan controls most talibans groups.
    Pakistan told taliban leaders not to hand over Bin Laden to US.
    For Pakistan terrorism is a big business.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 14, 2013 - 12:49AM

    @Iftikhar Khan:
    You were quick coming to the conclusion that the ‘Talibans’ is the enimy. Did you think that the battles of pak military with them were some sort of a shooting practice? Pakistan miltary has a choice to appease or keeo on fighting them for ever like the Burmese, the Thais or the Philipinos fighting the so called separist groups.

    Rex Minor

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  • Arindom
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:06AM

    pathetic….the way the Goverment is begging terrorists to declare a cease fire – that too for just one month ( for fear of offending the terrorists)!!

    you sponsot Taliban in Afghanistan and they open a branch in Pakistan to become a millstone around your own neck!

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  • gp65.
    Feb 14, 2013 - 4:14AM

    @Hafeez: “Ceasefire? Are you nuts? Ask them to surrender and no talks.”

    Surrender to whom? They are in NWA and Pakistani military is unwilling to go there.

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  • ballu
    Feb 14, 2013 - 4:17AM

    Zaid hamid must be really happy….

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  • Ali Khan
    Feb 14, 2013 - 9:50PM

    Mirza
    Indian are not aloud to sugest any thing for pakistan coz we know you are an Endian troll.

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